Avoiding after exercise headache

You have a great work-out, then BOOM! - the dreaded after exercise headache hits. Sometimes it's right away, sometimes a couple of hours after you're done exercising.

What's going on?

What's causing it?

There are a number of things that can cause after exercise headache. If you already suffer from migraine, chances are that your exercise is triggering the migraine chain-reaction. It may be that the symptoms are a little different than what you're used to - don't let that throw you off. Chances are, it's still migraine.

If that's the case, you need to deal with the "big picture" - your overall migraine issue. Talk to your doctor about the various preventative medications that may be right for you. This is for you especially if you're getting migraine symptoms a few times a month.

Your doctor also may be able to suggest a medication that you can take just before you exercise or just after, that will stop the headache before it becomes a major problem. More on that, and other tips, in this article on exercise induced headache.

Other possibilities

There may be other reasons why you're getting headache. Most causes are not serious, though some can be. You may simply have an exertional headache, which can happen to anyone. Sometimes spinal problems can cause a headache.

However, if you get a new headache after you exercise, see your doctor. It could be something that needs immediate attention. These might include a brain haemorrhage (when blood vessels in the brain actually break) or other problems with blood vessels themselves.

The Headache and Migraine News blog has great tips for various kinds of migraine and headache. Here's a recent article on what to do if you get a headache after working out.

You might find this information about after exercise headache from the Mayo Clinic helpful.

Still, remember to see your doctor if you have a new headache of any kind. There are more tips on our exercise induced headache page.

Some common treatments

The International Headache Society has written about two overlapping types of headache, known as primary cough headache and primary exertion headache. These are often treated with indomethecin (Indocin), an anti-inflammatory medication. Ergotamine Tartrate has been reported as helpful by some patients.

However, if the headache you're getting is actually part of a migraine attack, you'll want to consider more specific migraine medications.

Studies on these types of headaches are still limited, however, so its best to talk to your doctor. Also be sure to read these tips on avoiding exercise induced headache.